MOULTRIE, Ga. (WALB) - The fourth day of the Jeffrey Peacock bench trial continued Thursday morning.
Just after lunch time, Judge James Hardy announced his verdict after hearing all the evidence in the case.
Hardy pronounced Peacock guilty on all 14 counts brought by the state.
The counts included malice murder, arson, and aggravated cruelty to animals.
Peacock will serve five consecutive life sentences. Concurrent to these, he will serve 15 years, five years for each dog he killed, and 20 years for arson in the torching of the house on Rossman Dairy Road.
The fourth day of the trial began with closing arguments from the state and the defense.
Allan Sincox, Peacock’s attorney, said there is no piece of evidence that directly says what happened the night of May 14, 2016.
Peacock said he didn’t shoot the victims in his May 18, 2016 statement to investigators, the defense argued.
The defense also argued Peacock initially lied to protect himself and the memory of his friends.
During Peacock’s 911 call, he says his four friends were still inside the house. The defense argued Peacock says four because Peacock claims Jordan Croft killed the remaining four friends and then Peacock shot Croft.
Most of the blood stains collected from Peacock’s clothes are on the back of the clothes, according to the defense.
The defense argued because there aren’t many blood spatter patterns, which is what Peacock would likely have if he shot all five people at close range.
Sincox said investigators were stuck in “maybe land” trying to find alternate scenarios to what Peacock said in his interview.
Sincox also argued the only evidence the state has is what Peacock said in that interview on May 18, 2016.
The defense argued Peacock shot Croft in self-defense and anger, also adding that charge should be dropped from malice murder to, at most, voluntary manslaughter.
Sincox also argued the felony cruelty to animals charges should be misdemeanors. Peacock was negligent, Sincox said, stating that Peacock claimed to have left the front door open to allow the dogs to run out.
Sincox also said the dogs died from smoke inhalation and were found by their owners and claimed the dogs were so loyal and stayed with their owners.
Sincox argued there are two competing theories.
The state briefly argued that Peacock should be found guilty on all charges.
The state said “no reasonable person can believe” Peacock’s story.
The defense asked the judge to redirect his verdict on the 14 charges Peacock was indicted on.
The defense did not bring any witnesses to the stand.
Peacock was arrested on May 19, 2016 and charged with murder and arson. Agents said the victims in the home, located on Rossman Dairy Road, were shot and the home was burned in an attempt to cover up the deaths.
Peacock was indicted on 14 charges in March 2017.
He was indicted on:
- Five counts of malice murder
- Five counts of possession of firearm during the commission of a felony
- First degree arson
- Three counts of aggravated cruelty to animals